Gaithersburg City Hall

Alert Gaithersburg Problem

The city of Gaithersburg is investigating a problem with its Alert Gaithersburg system that may have originated a month ago.

According to City Manager Tony Tomasello, some Verizon users appeared to have been dropped from Alert Gaithersburg this week.

“Emails generated through the city of Gaithersburg servers, which include Alert Gaithersburg, were identified as spam and placed on Internet blacklists, causing our messages to be rejected by many mail gateways.  We have resolved that issue and restored the city’s Internet reputation, but have since learned that because of this spam issue, the Alert system may have disabled devices during this time period,” Tomasello wrote in an email.

“The program that Alert Gaithersburg runs on is set up to disable a device if a certain number of attempts are made that fail. The system presumes the device is no longer in service.  We suspect that during the time we were considered spam, Verizon mail gateways rejected our messages.  Thus after several rejections, the Alert System disabled those devices,” explained Tomasello.

According to Tomasello, this appears to be a Gaithersburg specific issue. “It appears to only have affected Verizon customers at this point, not AT&T and Sprint.  We are working to identify the affected users and determine potential solutions for re-enabling their devices should they continue to want to receive Alert messages,” Tomasello said.

City officials said there are currently 8,989 subscribers to Alert Gaithersburg.

“Although we became aware of isolated reports of people not receiving notifications a couple of weeks ago (which we handled individually), the larger scope of the Verizon device disabling did not become apparent until Tuesday of this week,” Gaithersburg spokesperson Britta Monaco said in an email. “We are in the process of identifying affected users and developing a strategy for getting them back into the system.”


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